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The experience of infant massage provides a “bubble” protecting parent and child from outside stimulus; the parent’s soft voice as he/she sings to baby, the warm soul-to-soul contact, helps parents slow down and quiet themselves and babies to bathe in the gentle rhythm of the massage.

 

According to the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, infants are especially susceptible to hearing damage from loud noises because their skulls are thinner, not fully developed. Noises that can harm a baby include sounds from loud toys like cap guns, speaking dolls, cars with sirens, musical instruments, and the loud noises of concerts. Some toys can inflict as much as 120 decibels of exposure, which is equivalent to hearing a jet plane take off, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

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Parents can take precautions such as buying noise-canceling headphones when going to places that could be loud, such as movie theaters, public festivals and concerts. My suggestion is to keep an infant sheltered from the loud, fast-paced world for at least six months to a year. Rudolf Steiner, of the Waldorf School movement, says that infants should be kept as closely to the womb-like environment as possible. He suggest hanging soft-colored sheer cloth around baby’s crib, keeping baby close to mother as long as possible, have family members agree to approach a newborn with great care — gently holding and carrying, speaking softly, guarding this new precious being, slowing introducing him/her to the world outside. I agree. The idea is to strive to make the baby’s environment as womb-like as possible; after all, our babies are not fully grown when they are born. It takes another nine months before he/she is ready for the stimulus of busy, stress-inducing life outside the womb.

 

by Vimala McClure

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